1st XI top at halfway stage
By Luka Brooksby
Copley 80 all out lost to Illingworth 81 for 2 by eight wickets
Illingworth increased their lead at the top of the Premier League to 16 points with a dominant display at Copley.
For the third week in a row, their opponents failed to get more than a hundred. Electing to bat first, the home team looked in little early trouble as they proceeded to 26-1 after the early loss of opener Gavin Whipp but once visiting quick Luke Brooksby got into his stride the picture changed rapidly. Stephen Cook was the first to strike and when Brooksby struck twice in quick succession and Cook took his second, the heart of the Copley batting had been removed at 28-4. Will Rushton 13 and Mark Baldwin 12 looked as though they were building a partnership but when they both fell in rapid succession the home batting collapsed in a heap to 80 all out in just a ball over 25 overs. Brooksby was the star of the show with 5-28 but young Ben Fearnley drafted in from the second team at the 11th hour on his first team debut was not far behind with 3-12 ably backed up by Cook with 2-28. But for extras, which top scored with 23, the target would have been even smaller.
The visitors were in no mood to delay victory and took just 11 overs to cross the line. Matty Smith raced to 54 off just 32 balls with 2-6s and 8-4s and Calum Cook (25 not out)helped him put on 75 for the first wicket before Smith and Hamza both fell to Gavin Whipp within sight of victory.
Report by PA Smith